SS Jeremiah O’Brien

SS Jeremiah O’Brien is one of the few surviving Liberty Ships - cargo ships massively built by US in WW2. Used everywhere - from arctic convoys to D-Day, those ships became a legend.

This particular ship is currently based in San Francisco where I had the pleasure to see and visit her. Obviously after the visit I decided to build the model of this remarkable ship. I decided to go with 1/700 scale, mostly because I already had HMS Hood in ~1/700, but now I see how choosing this scale was a huge mistake. I didn’t realize how tiny the model will be, and even went with buying Photo Etch set from Tom’s Modelworks.

Model quality

The quality is great, no flash, crisp details. PE set is also great, however instructions look hand-drawn and lack some details.

Build notes

At first I was not intimidated by the teeny-tiny size of the model and was very much determined to build it as good as I could, with all possible details. It was a rookie’s mistake, and I pretty much burned out before I finished adding PE details to the superstructure.

To add to my misery when I painted the hull I realized that the paint I used was too dark, so I tried re-painting. It didn’t go well, so I tried to scrape the paint, but it only damaged the tiny details on the deck.

I gave up on the hull, but after investing so many hours in superstructure PE details I decided to buy a second model (luckily it costs only ~16 Euros) only for a hull.

However before second one arrived I stashed all the stuff that I built and left it for a long time - more than a year and a half. I simply couldn’t bring myself to work on it again, and it sat in the corner of the shelf as a quiet reminder of my mistakes.

Luckily recently I saw same model finished on Reddit’s r/modelmakers, and this gave me much needed incentive to work on the ship again.

Finishing the PE work was surprisingly easy (probably I’ve learned quite a lot since I last touched it), and even enjoyable to some extent. However it’s clear for me now that 1/700 is not my favourite scale to work with PE.


Then I quickly painted the (second) hull using much lighter grey colour (just as the first time I used AK Interactive paint sets for WW2 US Navy), and to my relief it turned out to be not too bad, even with small imperfections and scratches. This finally let me leave the mistakes I made with the model in the past, and gave confidence that I can finish it.

I painted the superstructure, assembled everything together and rigged the ship with EZ-line. There were only a few teeny-tiny decals, and adding them was relatively easy. Weathering was done mostly with AK Interactive Rust Streaks, some oil filters, and black wash to bring out the details.


It was a grueling build that lasted on and off for almost two years. In the end I’m very happy with the result, and even happier with the fact that it’s over.

Initial goal was to build the model as good as I could, and I can honestly say that is exactly how it was built. It also helped that I had reference photos of the ship that I took on my visit to her.

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